The West likes to uphold human rights and democracy when it comes to discrediting competing states. China, in particular, is increasingly facing accusations of violating so-called “Western values.”
We are the West. We are Europe and North America, and the West is more than just a geographical location in this context. The West, the industrialised countries of the first world, an alliance of democracies with Common objectives and values; Values that make us stand out from other parts of the world, that make our society a little more progressive, a little more civilized. They are values that are so important to us as Europeans that we enshrine them as principles in our bilateral treaties. Values such as liberal democracy, the rule of law, human rights, peace and stability are our Western values.
The unspoken assumption is that spreading these values is a contribution to a better world. It is therefore our task, and perhaps even our moral duty, to play our part in spreading it. Nations that do not sufficiently share our values are considered underdeveloped and uncivilized, their governments not legitimate. Over the years, the West has logically created a vast network of international NGOs and think tanks from Freedom House to Human Rights Watch, which is committed solely to preserving and disseminating our values worldwide. The most recent organization to join this tradition is IPAC – the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China.
The IPAC was founded on 4 June 2020 on the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incidents in Beijing and is an association of MEPs from 18 national and EU Parliament. According to its own Mission Statement, IPAC sees itself as a united front of democracies seeking to defend our values against china’s negative influence. The focus will be on international law, human rights, security policy and fair trade. Germany is represented as IPAC co-chairs by the Members of the Bundestag Margerete Bause and Michael Brand and the MEPs Reinhard Bütikofer.
Five other German politicians are also members of the IPAC, including Gyde Jensen, chairman of the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid in the Bundestag. The image conveyed by the members of IPAC in their video of China is that of a dangerous country whose immoral leadership simply cannot adhere to international norms, whose ever-increasing influence now threatens to corrupt the actions of other nations, thus necessitating the establishment of IPAC in order to stop this activity. Western democracy against Communist China; a touch of good versus evil.
But are China’s violations of international law, human rights, and international security so blatant that it deserves the title of danger to free democracy and Western values? In the area of international law and security, it is China’s border conflicts with India, the South China Sea and Taiwan that are the most frequently criticized by international son.
China’s Border Conflicts
The border conflict between India and China is several decades old and is based on conflicting territorial claims in the high mountains on China’s western border around Tibet and Xinjiang. In June this year, 20 Indian soldiers died in clashes. However, the border dispute with China is no exception for India – similar conflicts exist with almost all of its northern neighbors, from Myanmar to Pakistan – and it is unclear who is responsible for the recent clashes. Finding the causes of diplomatic tensions in China alone is certainly too simple.
South China Sea
The situation is different in the South China Sea. Here, various archipelagos, such as the Paracels and the Spratleys, are claimed by several neighbouring countries, including Brunei, the Philippines and Vietnam. China, for its part, makes historical claims for much of the South China Sea, and has created facts by dumping 13 square kilometers of artificial island space since 2013 and its partial militarization.
The permanent arbitration court in The Hague ruled in a 2016 ruling that China could not assert historical claims in accordance with international maritime law and that, in various cases, Philippine sovereignty was violated by the Chinese side. However, the judgment did not comment on the ownership of the South China Sea itself. The decades-long tensions between the individual states thus continue to exist due to the unresolved claims to sovereignty, and that China, as the dominant maritime force, demands and shows a course of action based on realpolitik rather than international law contributes to the potential for conflict in the South China Sea.
Taiwan is not only a renegade province for China, but also one of the last remaining memories of the century of shame from 1839 to 1949, in which China saw itself alienated and exploited by the imperialist forces of Europe and Japan. After defeat in the first Sino-Japanese War in 1895, Taiwan was annexed by Japan and remained separated from China after the Japanese defeat in World War II due to American intervention directed against the new Chinese Communist government and, contrary to the wartime agreements.
The nationalists under Chiang Kai-Shek, who fled to Taiwan after the defeat of the Chinese civil war in 1949, ruled from Taipei with the dubious claim to be the only legitimate government in China. The communists in Beijing made the same claim much more convincingly and were recognized in the UN as the only official representative of China from 1971. The fact that Taiwan is part of China was beyond question for both nationalists and communists.
With Taiwan’s democratization in the late 1980s and early 1990s, official voices gained prominace for the first time, which, unlike the Kuomintang (KMT), Chiang Kai-Shek’s party, formulated independence from Taiwan as an independent state as a possibility. The dPP of current President Tsai Ing-Wen is the primary representative of this effort. But, while China is willing to tolerate Taiwan’s current status quo as a needless compromise that has grown out of the turmoil of history, a declaration of independence for China would be the manifestation of historical injustice, and thus unacceptable.
In 1992, representatives of both sides agreed on the controversial One China Consensus, which states that there is only one China. Basically, it is Beijing’s promise not to take any further action on the Taiwan issue as long as Taiwan commits to A China, not independence. The recent repeated protests and military threats by Beijing, such as the chinese air force’s repeated incursion into Taiwanese airspace, are accordingly reactions to Political Actions by Taiwan that call into question the One China Consensus. The purchase of U.S. weapons systems, certain statements about Taiwan’s sovereignty from Tsai Ing-Wen, and the reception of U.S. diplomats are seen by Beijing as a provocation, and are certainly intended to be some of them.
The Chinese government must accept the accusation that it has not been able to resolve these border conflicts in a sustainable manner, despite its decades-long history. But China is not the only country whose border has not been finalized and thus has potential for conflict, nor is the government’s approach in Beijing to its sovereignty claims particularly aggressive. Unlike the border conflicts between India and Pakistan, Russia and Ukraine, or, as is currently the case, Armenia and Azerbaijan, China represents its interests almost exclusively by diplomatic, non-military means. Deadly clashes, such as the recent one on the Indian border, are the exception, not the rule, in contrast to other border conflicts worldwide.
China’s approach is not, as often described, aimed at territorial expansion, but is aimed at preserving the territories where the Chinese government sees historical and, as in the case of Taiwan, centuries-old claims. In the case of the South China Sea, however, this claim is contrary to UN international law and the Chinese violations have rightly been criticised.
But it is questionable that China deserves special attention as a threat to international law and security because of its recent behavior, as demanded by iPAC. For china has not recently changed its official positions on its long-standing border conflicts, nor would it be particularly difficult to give examples of states whose current violations in the areas of international law and security are far more serious. For example.B. NATO member Turkey is waging an attack war in Syria, fighting in Libya, supporting the escalation between Azerbaijan and Armenia, bombing Kurds in Iraq, oppressing the Kurdish minority at home, and maintaining one of the world’s longest illegal occupations under international law in Cyprus. As a result, Turkey, a much smaller country than China and also part of Europe and a partner in the Western defence alliance, is involved in four wars at the same time, which have already cost thousands of lives. Against this backdrop, the strong Western focus on China seems either misguided, politically motivated, or purely arbitrary.
China’s Human Rights Violations
But of all the accusations against China, it is above all those of blatant human rights violations that weigh most heavily. IPAC bases its raison d’etre not least on the theory that the unscrupulous behavior of a rising economic superpower undermines global morals maintained by the Western world and democracy itself. Evidence of the inhumane nature of China’s leadership can be found in two examples: Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
In Hong Kong, China has brutally suppressed peaceful, pro-democracy demonstrations, according to the accusation. Demonstrators are opposed to excessive police violence, not only violating hong Kong’s right to freedom of expression and demonstration, but also undermining democracy itself. With the subsequent adoption of the national security law in June this year, China had enshrined the permanent curtailment of human rights in Hong Kong by law.
It is undisputed that there were cases of police violence during the demonstrations. However, this fact without context is not very meaningful. The protests in Hong Kong lasted 6 months. What began as a peaceful mass protest against an extradition law with the mainland developed within a few weeks into massive, violent riots directed against the Hong Kong and Beijing governments. Arson and vandalism led to millions of dollars in damage. Violence against protesters, mainland Chinese and police officers left dozens injured. Demonstrators set fire to a man and killed a 70-year-old man with a stone throw. The police actions were therefore less an attempt to undermine the fundamental rights of citizens than to prevent riots.
It is possible that the Hong Kong police reacted disproportionately and thus contributed to the radicalization of the protests. However, the extensive footage of the clashes shows that the violence also started from demonstrators and that the responsibility to seek alone from the police is too easy. The international comparison also casts doubt on the fact that the Hong Kong police’s willingness to use force was particularly excessive. In 2019, there were protests around the world in France, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Indonesia and Iraq. In almost all cases, and although most of the protests lasted for a few weeks, not months, there were deaths from police violence; not in Hong Kong.
The National Security Act
The national security law, which came into force on June 30, is a direct response to last year’s protests and the influence of foreign forces, especially the United States. It criminalises treason, secession, incitement of the people and planning of the overthrow of the government. Western critics, however, see the law less as a response to external interference in China’s affairs than as a tool to suppress democratic forces and freedom of expression in Hong Kong.
China’s accusation that the US supported the protest movement in Hong Kong, making the law necessary, was portrayed in the West as an unconventional excuse for an authoritarian regime for the internal unrest provoked by state oppression. At this stage, there may still be doubts about the extent, but not about the interference itself. Through the CIA subsidiary NED (National Endowment for Democracy), the US has invested USD 1.8 million in Hong Kong over the last six years. The money went directly or indirectly to at least six organizations that organized the Hong Kong protests.
As Time reports, millions more went through the US Agency for Global Media for the development of encrypted communications apps and an aid fund. The leaders of the protest movement, such as the main leader of the demonstrations and media mogul Jimmy Lai, founder of the Democratic Party Martin Lee or Demosisto founders Joshua Wong and Nathan Law, have direct ties to the American political elite around Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi, John Bolton and Marco Rubio. As Donald Trump’s China adviser, Michael Pillsbury, confirmed in a Fox News interview, the US already supported the umbrella protests in 2014. The American NGO Human Rights Foundation trained Hong Kong protest organizers years in advance.
The NSG itself is not an extraordinary law. Similar laws.B have existed in Macao since 2009, also a special administration of China, or – in an even more far-reaching version – in the form of the Patriot Act in the USA. German criminal law also includes regulations against treason and incitement to the people. However, the NSG in Hong Kong allows the legislator extremely wide scope for interpretation, and critics rightly see the danger of the arbitrary criminalization of micro-crimes and the suppression of future democratic reform movements. However, the feared excessive application of the NSG has not yet occurred. In the first three months since the law came into force, there have been 26 arrests and only one charge.
In Xinjiang, the accusations against China range from religious oppression, forced labor, forced marriage, mass arrests, sterilizations, and ethnic cleansing, to the cultural and demographic genocide of Muslim minorities in concentration camps. More than a million Muslims, mainly Uyghurs, are said to be affected by arbitrary persecution and imprisonment by the Chinese government. China, for its part, is talking about a fight against terrorism, separatism, and extremism, which it is trying to counter through increased security measures, investment in training, and re-education camps.
Now, the reason why people have been up in arms about China’s treatment of Muslims stems from counter-terrorism measures instituted in Xinjiang after a series of attacks in the region. Here’s a small sample of the violence. pic.twitter.com/gUmlYVEAqM— Ian Goodrum (@isgoodrum) June 8, 2018
It is undisputed that the re-education camps exist and that China has installed a close-knit surveillance network in large parts of Xinjiang. However, the strong expansion of the public security apparatus has not been done without reason, nor are the measures directed against the Muslim community as a whole. Instead, terrorist attacks by Uyghur extremists from the East Turkistan Independence Movement (ETIM) have killed hundreds of people over the past three decades. The ETIM is classified not only by China, but also by the US (until November 2020), UK and the UN as a terrorist group with Al-Qaeda links. The U.S. itself flew in 2018 missions against ETIM training camps in Afghanistan.
A large number of these accusations are certainly due to the politicization of the Xinjiang issue. The fact that China’s campaign is not directed against Muslims on a blanket basis can be seen in the support for China’s de-radicalization by the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) and a large part of the Muslim-majority nations. And the fact that there should be doubts about the characterization of the re-education camps is clear from the fact that none of the dozens of visitors from international delegations, journalists, the World Bank and the UN have even seen some evidence of concentration camps or genocide. Neither the refugee flows symptomatic of mass persecution nor the unavoidable video evidence in the social media age exist.
The most blatant accusations against China are mainly due to dubious, US-funded sources. The most prominent example of this is Adrian Zenz, an evangelical German who worked as a senior research fellow at the washington-based think tank Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and, before his surprising career as an Xinjiang expert, was particularly noted for his obscure faith studies. It is characteristic of the public discourse on Xinjiang that Zenz is uncritically presented to the public as an authority in the field of China, despite a conflict of interest, dubious expertise, and the publication of grossly unscientific studies. And it is also characteristic of IPAC that Zenz and Vicky Xu of the Australian ASPI are listed as “advisers”.
The ASPI (Australian Strategic Policy Institute) is another prominent source that is funded by the Australian Ministry of Defence, the US military complex and NATO, among others, and is particularly striking through studies by analysts in their mid-twenties who questionable interpret publicly available documents and satellite images. In Australia itself politicians accuse ASPI of working on a new Cold War and taking a one-sided pro-American stance. The original source of adrian Zenz’s popularity is another American think tank in Washington called China Human Rights Defenders (CHRD). The number is an estimate based on only 8 interviews.
Other charges against the re-education camps come from former inmates. And these testimonies to the conditions in the re-education camps often describe unsustainable conditions, but at the same time are impossible to verify, and there are clear signs of manipulation of the respective representation in order to achieve a dramatic effect. Sayragul Sauytbay and Tursunay Ziyawudun are two of the most frequently cited witnesses. Both gave several interviews, which included increasingly dramatic details. Ziyawudun initially claims to have been not a victim of violence, then to describe KZ-like conditions with medical experiments and kicks in the abdomen. There are four months between their two interviews.
Sauytbay also initially stated that he had seen no violence to report on permanent torture including electric shocks and the removal of fingernails of medical experiments, regular rapes and the compulsion to eat pork as a Muslim. When asked to comment on the extreme allegations, the Chinese government stated that Sauytbay itself had never been in a re-education camp and had left China despite suspicions of credit fraud of more than EUR 40,000.
With regard to the accusations of demographic and cultural genocide and the mass sterilisation of Uyghurs, it should also be taken into account that identical accusations made for years in Tibet and subsequently turned out to be baseless exaggerations. There was no program for forced abortions and sterilizations, nor a genocide. There are more Tibetans living in China than ever before.
But despite the widespread misinformation about Xinjiang, it remains to be noted that the Chinese government’s de-radicalization policies have meant deprivation of liberty for, though not a million, hundreds of thousands of people (the World Bank announced 180,000 participants on its information page about the project before deleting the data) and that the constant security controls and restrictions on freedom of movement have a significant impact on the quality of life of the Uighur minority. And while other countries have taken similar measures (1/2/3) against domestic extremism, China’s program in Xinjiang is the most comprehensive, and the question arises whether government-prioritized public safety could not have been achieved with less serious interference with the personal rights of its citizens.
The West and its values
Given the massive western criticism of China’s behavior over its border conflicts and the crackdown in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, one should expect it to be above all the liberal democracies of Europe and North America that uphold values such as international security, international law, and human rights in the global community of states. After all, the UN and NATO Charters, the Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are documents drafted by the West itself. And how else could you justify the creation of an organization like IPAC? One would expect a role model, especially from the nation whose behavior has the greatest influence on world affairs and therefore sees itself as the leader of the free world: the United States.
The United States
The power, military superiority, and cultural suggestivepower of the US are historically unique. No other country has had greater influence over the emergence of international institutions, and no country has more broadly violated its rules and the spirit they embody. The violations of international security, international law and human rights of the United States are a reflection of their extraordinary power, and thus so blatant that a comparison with China must seem absurd.
The US has been permanently at war for 20 years, most of the time in several countries at the same time. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have killed at least 500,000 people. Hundreds more have died in US-led and/or generously supported fighting in Libya, Syria, and Yemen, a war that actually deserves the title of genocide. The destabilization of the Middle East has led to millions of refugees and degraded Libya from one of Africa’s richest nations to a failed state where slave markets re-exist for the first time in more than 100 years. The negative effects of the social divisions and personal traumas caused by the violence, as well as the uranium munitions used by US troops and leading to birth defects, will remain for generations to come.
At the same time, the United States is waging an economic war through sanctions against about one third of the world’s population, which has killed tens of thousands more people in recent years. The drone war that has been waged since 2004 claims hundreds of victims every year in at least 7 Muslim-majority countries, a fact that ultimately does not seem entirely sincere about the often publicly expressed concerns of American diplomats about the fate of Muslims in China. U.S. intelligence agencies routinely organize violent government overthrows, most recently unsuccessfully in Venezuela in 2019. According to its leading intellectuals, journalists, politicians, and academic institutions, even the designation of the United States as a democracy is questionable.
It is clear that US foreign policy is in contrast to the UN Charter and its spirit of peace and international cooperation. Targeted killings by drone, the theft of Syria’s oil and the arbitrary abduction and torture, as in the case of Guantanamo, are all war crimes within the meaning of the Geneva Convention. The fact that the prospect of being held responsible for war crimes in Afghanistan led Mike Pompeo to call the International Criminal Court in The Hague a “Kangaroo Court” shows the importance that the American government is prepared to give to itself in relation to Western values.
The US violates international law and human rights and threatens international security so frequently and to such an extent that it must be assumed that decision-makers will only consider them relevant if they are in harmony with its own goals or can be used as an instrument of indictment against other nations.
By the example of Europe: France
But the West is not just made up of the United States, and because of the us’s prominent position in the world order, it might be excused as a non-representative exception to the Western community of values. But there are also examples in Europe that suggest that their decisions are less about the abstract ideals declared by IPAC than about geopolitical interests and influence. A prominent example is Germany’s closest partner and “core of Europe”: France.
The 1960s are considered the end of the colonial era and the domination of Europeans over the African continent. But, in stark contrast to the prevailing zeitgeist of African emancipation, France forced much of its African colonies into a regulation that gained notoriety as a francafrique and was intended to ensure the continuation of French rule by other means. Self-determination was thus only nominal for the 12 French colonies that had to submit to this system, but not independence in the real sense of the word. For these countries, colonialism merely passed into neo-colonialism.
The Francafrique system still exists today. For 14 African states, this means, among other things, that their monetary and economic policies are significantly influenced by France, that they have had to deposit at least 50% of their foreign reserves in France (revised only in 2019), that public contracts must first be offered to French firms and that France has the right of pre-emption of all the country concerned. The means by which France is prepared to defend these privileges against African self-determination can be seen in the large number of African reformers who have been the victims of assassinations or government overthrows. The French military has intervened more than 50 times directly in Africa since 1960, and more than 4,000 French soldiers are currently permanently stationed in Africa.
It is obvious that France’s neo-colonialism, the cheap access to raw materials and orders for French companies, has massive advantages for the French state. For 14 African countries, apart from a stable currency, the francafrique system means a stagnant economy, the sell-off of their natural resources, a lack of foreign investment, corrupt elites, and political unrest. While France maintains its international status and influence, its former colonies have a permanent existence as developing countries. In the United Nations Human Development Index rankings, 5 of the Francafrique states are in the last 10.
France’s neo-colonialism in Africa is in stark contrast to the values that IPAC claims. Neither France’s longstanding support for African autocrats, nor the multiple government upheavals that deprive West Africa of its political stability, are a commitment to fundamental democratic values or international security and stability. China will not allow free elections in Hong Kong along the lines of the European model. France’s neo-colonialism is partly responsible for the underdevelopment of 170 million Africans and has been for 60 years.
But for France, too, one could argue that the country, as a former colonial great power, holds a special status similar to that of the United States and therefore cannot be representative of the West. The question therefore arises as to how Germany itself, as the most financially powerful and influential country in Europe, embodies Western values, to which both members of the Bundestag and German members of the European Parliament have joined the IPAC.
A first indication is Germany’s participation in the Kosovo war in 1999. By participating in the NATO bombing in the Balkans, Germany has not only broken international law, as the attack took place without a UN mandate, but also the NATO Charter, which provides exclusively for collective defense in the event of an attack on one of the NATO members. With a record of more than ten thousand dead and more than a million refugees, most of whom tried to escape NATO attacks, this first combat mission by German soldiers abroad since World War II can hardly be seen as a successful contribution to international law and security or human rights. The Combat Mission of the Bundeswehr was already supported by the Green IPAC members Bütikofer and Bause.
The fact that Germany has failed to stand up for international law, human rights and democracy over the past 20 years is mainly due to the fact that Germany, as a NATO member, is a junior partner of the United States and foreign policy decisions are thus decisively burdened. Whether for the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, the bombing of Libya or the war in Syria, the US has at least the latent support of Germany by granting overflight rights and providing logistical, human and financial resources. Accordingly, in response to the Federal Government’s conduct in the Iraq war in 2005, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that Germany was not obliged to support NATO’s international offences, but on the contrary was required to defend its neutrality. The German judiciary thus showed that it internalized Western values much better than the executive.
The war in Syria is a vivid example of Germany’s willingness to subordinate moral values to US geopolitical considerations. Although wikileaks, among others, show that the US had planned Assad’s overthrow by supporting the opposition since at least 2006, Western intelligence agencies had been training the rebels since 2011, the CIA, through Operation Timber Sycamore, trained the rebels at an annual cost of about USD 1 billion, and was already aware that the opposition fighters were mainly Islamist extremists in 2012. , whose last bastion since 2018 is Idlib, Germany has supplied weapons and secret information to this very opposition, supported US military operations in Syria, and is still sending billions in humanitarian aid to the region.
Since the financial support in Syria itself is intended exclusively for opposition areas and not for the reconstruction of the destroyed nation, it is suspected that this aid will serve to artificially keep alive a conflict that is responsible for 5 million refugees and 400,000 dead. The refugee crisis has also had profound consequences for Germany, and the prevailing impression is that Germany has not only defunded Western values in Syria, but also its own best interests.
But conflict hotspots such as those in Syria or Yemen also show that blatant violations of human rights and violations of international law do not prevent Germany from continuing to supply arms to the parties to the conflict. Although Germany does not currently export arms to Saudi Arabia, the fact that the embargo, which came into force in 2018, is cosmetic rather than idealistic, can be seen from the fact that the authorized arms exports to the other countries of the Middle Eastern War Alliance amounted to more than one billion euros in 2019, and that by the time the embargo was imposed, more than 70,000 people had already died in Yemen and 50,000 children had already died. Turkey, which is currently occupying northern Syria, fighting Kurds in northern Iraq, fighting in Libya and supporting the escalation between Azerbaijan and Armenia, was also the destination country for a third of all German arms exports in 2018 and 2019.
But arguably Germany’s most serious violation of human and international law is its support for the American drone war. At least since the Intercept revelations in 2015, it is clear that the US military base in Ramstein has a key role to play in the indiscriminate bombing of at least 7 countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Neither the media coverage, public pressure, nor the further escalation of the drone war under Donald Trump have led to a significant reaction from the German government. This behaviour has now also been legitimised by the Federal Administrative Court. In doing so, Germany continues to be complicit in extrajudicial killings, indiscriminate massacres of wedding parties and schoolchildren, and the targeted terrorization of entire regions.
Even Germany’s love of democracy finds its limits in American policy of interest. Both in Venezuela, where the unelected president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, undemocratically appointed president himself, and in Bolivia, where a violent military coup forced Bolivian President Evo Morales to leave his own country and brought the unelected Christian fundamentalist Janine Anez to power, the new presidents were recognized by the federal government directly after the United States. Although statements by US Senator Chris Murphy confirm conjecture that Guaido’s self-appointment was part of a US coup attempt and thus a clearly anti-democratic, illegal and imperialist process, the German government still recognizes Guaido as the legitimate representative of Venezuela, thereby legitimising interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states that is contrary to international law, at least as long as it is carried out by our geopolitical partners.
Do China’s violations of Western values really weigh more heavily than those of the West itself? Is the detention of hundreds of thousands of people as a result of deradicalisation more serious than the killing of hundreds of thousands of people by endless resource wars? Is the suppression of anti-government protests at home more serious than neo-colonialism, which denies all nations their self-determination and condemns them to a permanent existence as a developing country? Are border conflicts largely fought through diplomatic channels comparable to the disregard for any state sovereignty and the targeted, extrajudicial killing of people by drone warfare? With an organisation that claims to stand up for international law and human rights, one would expect its focus to be on the countries that are the main culprits for violating international and human rights. IPAC, on the other hand, accepts them as members; an indication that human rights are merely a means to an end. The purpose is to defame and geopolitically marginalise China.
Whose Spirit Child The IPAC Really Is, can be seen in its members. At least seven advisers and staff have ties to the CIA-affiliated Jamestown Foundation in Washington, the Washington-based Victims of Communism Foundation, or the CIA’s sister organization NED. An IPAC consultant, Robert Suettinger, worked at the CIA for more than 20 years. Adrian Zenz and Vicky Xu are also the authors of Xinjiang’s most popular indictments. Of the 18 parliaments represented in the IPAC, 12 are NATO countries. In these circumstances, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the organization’s goal of portraying China as an immoral adversary is consistent with NATO’s geopolitical interests, and thus, above all, those of the US.
The justification for the existence of IPAC is a single contradiction. The organization sees itself as a bulwark of democracies against the threat of China. But it would not be possible to argue convincingly that a consistent political system leads to concurring foreign policy goals, nor that China is a greater threat to democratic states than the US, which has ousted a dozen Democratic heads of state from office worldwide over the past 70 years. There is no comparable influence in international relations on China’s side. Even the designation as a democracy, ostensibly a prerequisite for participation in IPAC, is quite questionable among some members, such as the USA or Uganda.
The questionable view of IPAC that the human rights violations of certain states deserve more attention than others is also reflected in its German members. Gyde Jensen and Reinhard Bütikofer are leading advocates for Hong Kong’s demonstrators, Jensen is convinced that a genocide is taking place in Xinjiang, Bütikofer believes it is at least “something similar”. Both consider China’s foreign policy to be aggressive and China itself to be the primary threat to democracy and human rights. Both are in favour of sanctions.
But the US and NATO are failing to link the humanitarian disasters created by the Syrian war and the civil war in Libya, or France to the North African refugee crisis. They do not seem to be interested in the drone war with German participation. The fact that it is so much easier to condemn the crimes of far-flung China than the unequally serious violations of peoples and human rights by European neighbours, NATO partners and Germany itself shows neither courage nor moral integrity. When Reinhard Bütikofer wanted to draw attention to human rights in China via Chinese characters on Twitter in mid-April, the Chinese government has already brought the Corona epidemic under control at home. While China is keeping the death toll below 6,000, hundreds of thousands of people in Europe and America are dying in a not inconsiderable part because economic policy interests weigh more heavily than health policy interests or simply because of gross political negligence. The right to life is the first point on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and one could only argue insufficiently that this right would have been given greater weight in the West during the Corona epidemic than in China.
The fact that this development, as well as the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis and Libyans, is not perceived as a violation of human rights by the West, and that one prefers to argue against Chinese censorship and foreign policy rather than war crimes is significant.
Ultimately, IPAC has no connection to human rights, international law or democracy. It is NATO PR that propagates an illusionary image of a bipolar world with a new enemy image: the good West, respectful of human rights, and the bad, rule-disrespectful China. Western values are just a tool. For the NATO states, they are merely a theory for the masses, not state practice. They serve as a moral yardstick by which China can be exposed in public, but in which its own world view would be shattered if the West applied it seriously to itself. The fact that it is possible to uncritically establish an organization on the assumption that in Western nations the peaceful coexistence and well-being of the people are of greater importance than elsewhere is testament to a non-realistic self-image and to media coverage that pays insufficient attention to the negative effects of Western foreign policy.
China has a negative image in Europe. Like many other countries. You can visit China like other countries. It is not difficult, as a Western politician, to speak publicly against China and for Western values. It is a simple self-branding without any adverse consequences. However, IPAC is trying to claim values that violate its participating nations to the greatest extent. IPAC’s individual politicians may feel connected to human rights and international law, but the organization’s one-sided partisan character reduces it from human rights activists to human rights advocates at best. And anyone who believes that current world affairs are more marked by China’s human rights violations than those of NATO members can only have followed recent history with great disinterest, making the individual members of the association seem less idealistic than ignorant, naive, and opportunistic. Universal human rights and international law can only be credibly defended by someone who is also prepared to demand values equally from all nations, and who demonstrates the ability to prioritise in accordance with the seriousness of the violations. Nelson Mandela once said that no one who does not know how to represent his principles equally to everyone should lead a nation. Likewise, no one who is only unilaterally selective in its human and international law, such as IPAC, should be taken seriously as a champion of our values.